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Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

By Lumbergh77 ·
I hear a lot of talk on how far the IT has fallen over the past 5 years. It seems that salaries are down, jobs are down, and thousands of new graduates are being thrown into an already oversaturated field.

Five year ago, I was working for a large corporation as a web programmer/help desk support (hired with ONLY 4 months experience and was 3 months from an Associate's degree in CIS) but was laid off last year. I am now working for a small company in a similar position. While I have obtained a Bachelor's degree in that time, I am making about the same amount of money as I was 5 years ago (in the mid 30 K range), and less benefits.

Seems to me that a B.S. degree now is worth as much as an A.S. five years ago and I'm thinking that certifications are necessary in order to get ahead. Or maybe it would be better to get training in something else to go along with my generalized IT skills (jack of all trades).

What about the rest of you? I'd like to see some personal examples on how you're faring now vs. 5 years ago. Do you regret your career choice? If you had to do it all over again, what would you have done?

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IT + Mechanic = Performance Tuning

by BAdamson In reply to What have I got myself in ...

If you are experienced in both Auto Mechanics & IT (especially programming), I would suggest you look for a career in tuning cars for performance. There is a lot of money to be made in that area in most major cities in the US.

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You've hit the nail on the head

by sdhanraj In reply to What have I got myself in ...

Aah, nursing...

I work not in nursing but in healthcare (clerical based) and have noticed that out of diapers there are those with an ASSOCIATE (that's only two years of schooling) are making @50-55k starting.

I have a BS in Biochemistry and let me tell you these people have not a clue about healing but are pulling in that starting salary.

A shortage in nursing might be mimicking IT, but you can't just lay off nurses like in IT.

In the downturning economy (I believe that things will only get worse in the US) nursing has a not been affected, like IT.

May be you should think about nursing or at least something in the healthcare profession to ensure security.

Hey, the bar has been lowered in nursing also because they used to hire only RN's with a 4 year degree now it's 2year ASSOCIATEs.

IT's revenue is variable because you can opt to do without while in healthcare the well being in lives is not an option. Also the gov is putting much money into healthcare and that might become useful as these hospitals pursue a totally computerized format.

I've learned that IT Pro are always on the current edge of information and that is a curse that gives us our value, while the nursing/md professional is latent in knowledge pending protocols and treatments that are to be approved in whose ever is controlling the treatment's time.

In other words if the cure existed then you wait for a global adoption. And you suffer now (or die). IT moves rapdily and institutes solutions much more rapidily.

While, IT would be using the newest cutting edge technology to save money.

Healthcare is very ineffcient and wasteful with money.

So you can see that in an economic climate where money now becomes a commodity, how IT, who is suppose to streamline costs, now is sidelined because it it now too expensive as a solution. (also outsourcing, etc)

I was considering nursing but ONLY for the money and stability.

I care too much for others to do a job just for money, but economics governs us all.

As for IT, technology will return but in the mean time you still have to eat.

You mentioned a very viable solution to the job crisis.


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DO NOT take a career just for the money!

by cswearingen In reply to You've hit the nail on th ...

You choose a career in something that can keep you interested in doing it for 8-12 hours a day for years on end. I've been in IT for only 7 years. My mother has been a nurse for 35 years or more. I've known doctors and nurses all my life.

I can tell you that to take a job in nursing just because there's a shortage is a HUGE mistake. Nursing isn't about the money you can make. It's about caring for people! It's not a glamour job at all. I've heard my mother tell stories that'll eitehr turn your stomach or break your heart (and sometimes both).

The people that would go into nursing for the money are the one's you'll see on the news being arrested for abusing/neglecting patients. I don't want my family member (or myself) being treated by such a person. Do you?

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Leaving IT for Nursing

by TmanA37 In reply to You've hit the nail on th ...

I?m former USAF security police, former Federal Corrections Officer, who went to a tech school and became a paper cert in NT 4.0.
Got hired at Compaq and have since been in IT for 5 years . At one time I was certified on different Windows certs, Servers, Storage, and Sans but got burned out chasing certs and trying to keep them updated. I have survived several lay offs and have just barley stayed a step ahead of the ax. I?ve seen and spoken with so many talented, educated, certified people who have been laid off and unemployed. I have friends with bachelors in Information Technology along with certs who have been laid off and either unable to find IT jobs or having to move far away in order to find jobs. Other?s have experienced age discrimination and other?s have given up on IT all together. I have several co-workers, one who received a bachelors in business and another who just received an MBA, both looking to get out of IT. I?m also surrounded by H1B-Visa employees from India. I walk by their cubicles, where my fellow co-workers used to set and see the faxes and copies for application for H1B Visa extensions and ?how to apply for US Citizenship? I?m so sick of all this outsourcing.
After seeing and experiencing all of this, I started looking around for another career. I like helping people, it?s what I?ve done for most of my adult life. A neighbor of mine suggested I look into Nursing and the more I looked, the more interested I became.

I?m currently working on my pre-req?s and plan to apply for Nursing School in the spring of 2006. The good thing about Nursing is the skills do not become obsolete over night, nor do you have to chase after paper certs. The education and continuing classes only benefit you more and you can continue working on different skills or pursuer different fields. The education and classes aren?t wasted and the opportunities are amazing. Nor, is there isn?t age discrimination. Not that I plan to work when I'm 70, but the Nurse at my son's pediatrian is in her 70's and just loves her job. Tell me, do you know anybody in IT who's that old and loves their job? At 38yrs of age, I need a career not just a job. Nursing has scalability, flexibility, mobility, profitability, the opportunity for job satisfaction and
Scrubs ;-)
IT is a rough business and it?s tough out there. I wish everyone the best of luck in their endeavors

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Be sure that's really what you want

by *Artemis* In reply to Leaving IT for Nursing

You didn't mention whether or not you have patient care experience...if you don't, I would strongly recommend that you volunteer at a nursing home or hospital, or become a nurse's aide. I am an RN that went to IT to get out of nursing, and though I don't get paid as much I'm much happier in IT. Money isn't everything when you dread punching that clock every day. Yes, there are many opportunities in nursing, and it tends to pay well. They need to offer good pay and signon bonuses, etc because they can't attract enough people to the profession. You have to consider why there is a shortage in the first place. Only those who truly love nursing have staying power, everyone else seems to want to find a way out or want out but are afraid to make such a change at that point in their lives.
If you enjoy working with the elderly, have a strong stomach, react well to stress and are good at organization and multitasking, go for it. Just test the waters first if you can. I don't mean to scare people away from nursing, it is a very rewarding profession for many people. But those considering it need to really know what they're in for before taking the plunge.

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by TmanA37 In reply to Be sure that's really wha ...


I've spoken to many RN's and have yet to find one that didn't like their job. As a former Corrections Officer, I've seen a LOT! I don't have a weak stomach and believe there are more options in the medical field than in IT.
If you have the time, I would like to discuss this more with you. You can email me at

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Point of View

by jdmercha In reply to Artemis

A lot depends on what nurses you have come in contact with. I've worked with a lot of RN's in a health insurance company. Very few of them enjoyed being an RN. I have also worked with nursing students. About 20% of them were only after the degree, they had no intention of being a practicing nurse.

And in nursing it is not called certification, it is called licensing.

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Re: nursing

by vltiii In reply to Leaving IT for Nursing

I'm not sure I agree with your assessment of nursing not having to continuously chase certs. Nurses are licensed professionals that must remain proficient in their trade to keep their license. They may not have to do so as often as an IT professional, but it does have to be done. There are advances in medicine as well as medical procedures all the time. There also are varying levels within the nurses profession, LVN, RN, emergency room nurse, surgical nurse, specialty nurses, etc, just to name a few.

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Nursing and chasing certs

by sdhanraj In reply to Re: nursing

Nursing is a field with diminishing returns in terms of salary with regards to educational effort.

Advancing in anything medically related takes time in education (years) to advance. IT was just as long as eg. MCSE cert.. Definite advantage for IT. So market was innundated with paper certs. Now you get a handle on that by demanding a certain years of experience. So IT was commoditized.

Nursing for STARTERS with an ASSOCIATE (2yrs) (yes bar was lowered from RN degress 4yrs due to shortage) will command 50-60k. That's the hook to get you in the profession. Continue your education and the pay increase is less per effort. Nurses don't have to assimilate NEARLY as much information as IT professionals because the field is handicapped by legalities/restrictions. In other words, just be a medical waitress and do your procedural and legal tasks and you can keep your job. There is no pressure to constantly upgrade your knowledge base or specialize.

KNOW your function and you are paid for that. That's your proficiency.

You've mentioned specialities and you never have to venture into specialities to keep a nursing job. Also with anything that commands more money, there is more to learn. That is an option in nursing but the norm in IT. In IT, you don't know, then bye, bye.

Hint for nursing - Get basic licensing ASSOCIATE and then do loads of overtime and I guarantee that you will make more than the specialities with less worries than they do.

There is no modesty in medicine and the pathogens, body fluids, pew de toilette are the trade offs. Big trade off.

I work with nurses and I am just amazed at the state of deficiency in proficiency that commands that type of salary.

I know loads of nurses (work alongside them) that don't really know anything about medicine, just their function, and making 50-60k. While my knowledge is more expansive and always cutting edge in regards to the next new treatment. (Hmm sounds like the IT attidude in medicine..hmmm)

Also nursing has had the stability during a downturn in the economy. IT got killed. Stability, you can't put a price on that.

I care too much for people to just do a job for money especially medicine. I work with nurses and they tell me "don't do it". But I know that most people that are going into nursing are doing it for the money.

You don't have to specialize to make the big bucks, just do the overtime. The knowledge base is more legacy based than cutting edge.

What so you say to Phd's and physicists making less than nurses?? I guess it is the same as people complaining that NBA players make so much.

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Re: Nusing

by vltiii In reply to Nursing and chasing certs

What you've described here is someone whose motivation, ambitions, etc, can't possibly get any lower. Of course they may be able to get by with the least effort. I personally think that is also true in the IT industry. I also can't imagine that anyone who has so little interest in bettering themselves would be interested in putting in overtime. I'll agree that advancing oneself doesn't guarantee professional advancement, but it certainly puts you in a better position. If the only concern is whether big bucks can be made, then I think that mindset is probably part of the problem.

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